by Sam Richie & Shannon K. Mitchell, AASP-MN Lobbyists
The 2024 legislative session is quickly approaching and is set to begin February 12. Lawmakers spent the interim meeting with constituents and stakeholders, holding events and fundraisers in their communities and districts, and traveling the state to see projects vying for funding in 2024. Meanwhile, lobbying organizations, municipalities, stakeholders groups and businesses are finalizing their legislative agendas to hit the ground running when session gavels in.
It is the second year of the biennium which tends to be a slightly less chaotic pace than during the first year. Because the two-year budget is already set, legislators can focus on assembling a bonding bill to fund capital projects as well as policy provisions. And while the budget is set and does not need to be addressed, there may be some modest supplemental budgeting because the state has a modest surplus. The November forecast showed a surplus of $2.4 billion, with slightly higher than anticipated revenue for the current biennium. However, the forecast also revealed that in the following biennium (2026-27), there will likely be a structural deficit of up to $2.3 billion. This means that the DFL-controlled legislature and Governor’s office will likely proceed cautiously with spending priorities.
The second year of the biennium also means that the same legislators will be returning, in contrast to the previous year, which saw over 30 percent new legislators following the November 2022 elections. The DFL will continue to control both chambers of the legislature along with the Governor’s office. Changes may be coming in the fall, with all 201 members of the House up for reelection. This looming election is already having an impact as a slew of high-profile House members have announced they will not be seeking reelection in the fall. These retirement announcements are coming from both political parties, including prominent Committee Chairs like Representative Becker-Finn and Representative Olson, as well as former Republican Speaker of the House Representative Daudt.
As legislators return, the same committee chairs will resume their roles. AASP-MN developed strong relationships with the Commerce Committee Chairs, including securing one as a lead author. We will continue to work with the committee chairs and members as we advocate to strengthen Minn. Stat. 72A.201.
Shifting gears toward must-know employment law changes. January 1, 2024 marked the beginning of the state’s new sick and safe time law. The new law states that for every 30 hours worked, an employee must accrue one hour of sick or safe time, up to 48 hours each year. This is not to be confused with Minnesota Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML), which is for more significant and long-term medical issues or having children and does not go into effect until 2026. Two other new employment laws include changes that mean employers can no longer ask for previous salary information or for employees to sign non-compete clauses. AASP-MN will continue to update members as bills make their way through the legislative process in St. Paul.
Want more? Check out the February 2024 issue of AASP-MN News!